My alarm woke me at 5.10am and I saw the day had dawned rainy and cold.
At 5.55am I jogged to the train station to catch the first Red Line train of the morning and pretty much the only people I saw were runners. It was drizzling a bit but the rain wasn’t too heavy.
I met Hélène on the train and we walked together to the start – and immediately found Helen and Geoff. Score.
We lined up for the abundant portapotties then went to drop off Helen’s bag. The hall of the World Trade Center was completely packed and we could barely move. When we finally emerged we saw we were at the 10.30/mile pacing point and couldn’t do anything about it.
While the drizzle continued there were speeches, a minute’s silence and the national anthem, then at 7.10am the horn sounded and we were off.
Of course, when I say “we were off” I mean, we shuffled forward for a few minutes before it was possible to break into a walk, and then into a ‘run’ – I did the first four km of the race at 7:24/km, 6:26/km, 5:48/km and 6.07/km. I was getting really angry at this point because the runner traffic was so heavy – my goal of a sub-two hour half seemed impossible and now I was just going for a slow run in the rain. It was at this point that Helen caught me up – we were just crossing Longfellow Bridge. She told me Geoff was way ahead and this gave me hope – maybe it would be possible to fight my way through the crowd and make some progress.
So after that 30 minute warm up I decided to get on with the race. We ran along Memorial Drive – we gave hi-fives to the police officers at MIT, I tried my first ever water stop and managed to inhale half of the cup and spill the other half on my shoes and down my leg. (By the third water stop I’d go the hang of it).
At the turn-around point at Harvard (and please note, about half a km from my house) my husband was waiting for me and snapped this great picture! This was at about 10km.
Then it started to rain quite heavily. I didn’t mind too much though – I had a fantastic view of the city across the river (it reminded my a lot of certain parts of the Brisbane skyline (circa 2002)). I broke out the GU I had brought with me – just as well as it turns out: the GU table that was supposed to be at mile 8 was nowhere to be seen (it turned up at mile 11).
My splits for this section (5km – 15km) were mostly in the 5.20/km area. I honestly thought there was no way I could keep that up for the rest of the race, but I kept pushing, telling myself to “go hard or go home” (corny, I know).
As we got back into the city – crossing Longfellow again – we passed the 10 mile marker and I looked at the gun-time clock – 1hr 33 mins – and I realised I was in with a chance of a sub-2hr race. All I had to do (ha!) was pull out a 27 minute 5km and I’d be there. My pace for 16km-19km slowed a bit to more like 5.30/km, but I only needed about 5.40/km to make it inside the goal.
As we reached Downtown Crossing T station and I was on very familiar ground, I just started flying. I did the 19th km at 5.01/km and the 20th at 4.39/km. And as I approached the finish line I saw the gun-time was 2:00:30 or so and I knew I’d done it.
Immediately after the finish line we were funnelled into the World Trade Center hall which was completely full again and all I wanted to do was faint/throw up/lie down. The crowd pressed me forward and I got water, a medal and a bagel. I fought my way outside and ran into Hélène who had finished about 1 minute before me.
We walked to our meeting point where my husband (bearing the most important post-race food product) and two friends were waiting:
When Helen and Geoff arrived – they had done a 2hr 6min – we discussed what we thought of the race. We decided:
1. It seemed poorly organized (too many people for the size of the streets, missing GU stand to name but two problems).
2. The race packet was just plain weird (a single advil, some cereal, and some athlete’s foot powder?)
3. The race t-shirt was pretty crappy – cotton and essentially see-through.
4. The entrance fee was very expensive but the medal was excellent.
BUT we were all extremely happy to have met our goals and run the race so overall we really didn’t care.
Place Div /Tot Div Nettime Pace 2544/6389 383/1286 F3039 1:57:17 8:57